With all the focus on the Winter Classic and regular-season games being cancelled, the fate of the NHL All-Star Game has been, well, slightly overlooked. In the way that a library closing is overlooked in a hurricane, for example.
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As of last week, the 2013 All-Star Game in Columbus was safe, as deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Dispatch that the cancellation of the game was "not imminent." This is in stark contrast with the chatter around the Winter Classic, which has been formally given soft deadlines for cancellation and is expected to get the axe this week.
This is the difference between being the jewel of the NHL's regular season and being an event in which many star players don't want to participate and that many fans see as a superfluous, often tedious waste of time. Outrage over the cancellation of the NHL All-Star Game in 2013 likely rivals that of a letter writing campaign to get the Yule Log back on TV for Christmas Eve.
That said: It means something to some hockey fans. Namely the ones in the cities that host the games.
If you've never been to one, it transforms sections of the host sites into hockey heaven: Giant fan fests, community events, banners, signs, a sense of celebration about the Game. Not to mention the in-arena experience, which is exponentially more memorable than watching the going-through-the-motions on TV.
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All of this would have been bestowed upon Columbus, which is a hockey town that could use some streamers and balloons these days.
"Knowing the great fans that are here in Columbus, we're looking forward to what we know will be a great event," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman when the Columbus Blue Jackets were handed the 2013 All-Star Game.
The Winter Classic, one assumes, will be played in Ann Arbor the next time it's played. The NHL should live up to its hype regarding Columbus, and vow to return the All-Star Game to the city the next time one is held, even as it cancels the 2013 edition.
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